Trump doubles down on calling Barack Obama ‘founder of Isis’

Hillary Clinton would be given ‘most valuable player award’ by Isis, says candidate

Donald Trump refused to back down from his false claim that President Barack Obama was "the founder of Isis" on Thursday, insisting: "He was the founder . . . The way he got out of Iraq was the founding of Isis."

The Republican presidential candidate was speaking to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, who had attempted to reframe his remark, telling him: "I know what you meant – you meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace."

But Mr Trump disagreed. "No, I meant that he's the founder of Isis, I do," he said. "He was the most valuable player – I gave him the most valuable player award. I give her too, by the way," he added of his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Mr Trump did acknowledge that the root of his argument was that if Mr Obama “had done things properly, you wouldn’t have had Isis”, but he repeated: “Therefore, he was the founder of Isis.”


And he doggedly pursued that line of thought in a later speech to homebuilders in Miami on Thursday, suggesting it was Mrs Clinton who would be given "the most valuable player award" by Islamic State. "Her only competition is Barack Obama," he said, adding of Mrs Clinton: "Oh boy, is Isis hoping for her."

Mr Trump’s remarks about Isis came while he is still dealing with backlash from his hint that gun rights supporters might attack Mrs Clinton, something that seemed to cause genuine shock in a country that has grown used to Mr Trump pushing the boundaries of appropriate political discourse.

Reagan criticism

On Thursday, Patti Davis, the daughter of late Republican former president Ronald Reagan, joined his critics to lambast him for what she called a "glib and horrifying comment".

"I am the daughter of a man who was shot by someone who got his inspiration from a movie, someone who believed if he killed the president the actress from that movie would notice him," she said, referring to the attempted assassination of Reagan by John Hinckley in 1981.

Mr Trump’s remark about Mrs Clinton, she said, “was heard by the person sitting alone in a room, locked in his own dark fantasies, who sees unbridled violence as a way to make his mark in the world, and is just looking for ideas. Yes, Mr Trump, words matter. But then you know that, which makes this all even more horrifying.”

Mr Trump had first claimed Mr Obama was “the founder of Isis” on Wednesday night at a rally in Sunrise, Florida.

“Isis is honoring President Obama,” Mr Trump said of Islamic State. “He is the founder of Isis. He founded Isis. And, I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.”

On Thursday, Mrs Clinton attacked Mr Trump for the remarks on Twitter. “It can be difficult to muster outrage as frequently as Donald Trump should cause it, but his smear against President Obama requires it,” she wrote. “No, Barack Obama is not the founder of Isis. Anyone willing to sink so low, so often should never be allowed to serve as our commander-in-chief.”

Since July's Republican convention, Mrs Clinton has taken a firm lead in the polls as Mr Trump has struggled from controversy to controversy, pursuing a feud with the Muslim family of a dead army captain and suggesting Russia publish any of Mrs Clinton's missing emails it has hacked, before this week's inflammatory remarks.

The Democratic candidate is 7.9 points ahead in the latest polling average compiled by Real Clear Politics.

Priebus claim

On Thursday,


magazine claimed that

Republican National Committee


Reince Priebus

had told Mr Trump that if he did not manage to right his listing campaign, the party might abandon support for his presidential bid and focus instead on Republicans running for Congress elsewhere in the country.

Quoting two anonymous party officials familiar with the conversation, Time said Mr Priebus had told Mr Trump that internal polling suggested he was on track to lose the election and that he would have been better off heading to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for a break than hitting the trail after the convention.

Mr Trump dismissed the story. "Reince Priebus is a terrific guy," he told Time. "He never said that."

Mrs Clinton was attempting to shift the focus to the economy on Thursday with a speech in Detroit. She intended to try to make the case that Mr Trump's policies would benefit him and his wealthy friends, and to characterise his plans as an update of "trickle-down economics".

Her speech was in part a response to one given by Mr Trump in the beleaguered Rust Belt city on Monday, when he proposed dramatically slashing taxes, reducing income tax brackets from seven levels to three – of 12 per cent, 25 per cent and 33 per cent – and eliminating income taxes for individuals who earn less than $25,000 annually, or $50,000 for a married couple.

That speech had been intended to reboot his flagging campaign, but was soon overtaken by the controversy over his “second amendment people” comments, which in turn gave way to Wednesday’s remarks about Mr Obama and Isis.

Guardian service